Bite Me, Yoda (Or, Spice Things Up!)

I’m on Darkly Delicious YA today, talking about why the Star Wars Prequels fell on their face. Come check it out. 🙂


One Dark Secret on Darkly Delicious YA

I didn’t publish my first book, but not for lack of trying. I boxed a trilogy, bound, with cute little labels on each of six parts, and mailed it to Bantam Spectra in 1999. I felt I owed it to my then-boyfriend to submit it after the two years I spent working on something that had ZERO chances of being picked up. It was, after all, Star Wars fan fiction.

If you’d like to read the rest, head on over to Darkly Delicious YA.

Guest Post: C.J. Brightley on Writing as a Man

The-King's-Sword-bigMy first book, The King’s Sword, was written in first person from the perspective of Kemen Sendoa, a retired military officer in the fictional country of Erdem.

Writing a story with a deep perspective can be challenging. Writing a story from the perspective of a character of the opposite gender can be even more challenging. I’ve gotten compliments on Kemen’s voice, and some people assume that I must be male to have written in a male voice so convincingly.

If you’re a male trying to write a female character, or a female trying to write a male character, and you’re concerned that you’re not getting it, here’s what worked for me. I’ve written this for women writing male characters, but some of the suggestions can be flipped around for men writing female characters.

First, recognize that characters, just like real people, are individuals. People are not stereotypes, caricatures, or tropes. Good characters aren’t either – they have depth and individuality. However, many (not all!) people conform to certain general trends. Some of those trends are related to gender. Understanding those trends is important to understanding your characters.

Understand How Men Think

First, a caveat: the generalizations below are just that – generalizations. There are plenty of individuals who don’t follow the general trends I’ve listed below. The info below isn’t meant as a rulebook, but rather a helpful set of possible factors to consider when writing your characters.

Men are people, too, and they have fears, desires, and hopes just like women. However, some of the ways they express those fears, desires, and hopes are different. Men are less likely to talk about their feelings than women, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. They may be less likely than women to enunciate emotions or the reasons for emotions, even to themselves.

They tend to place a higher priority on giving and receiving respect than on giving and receiving affection (as compared to women). Obviously, humans all need both love and respect, but men and women feel the need differently.

They tend to be visually stimulated, as opposed to women who tend to be stimulated more by touch, words, and other signs of affection/love/lust.

The majority of men feel a deep responsibility to provide for their families. Yes, there are deadbeats out there, but there are also a vast number of men who take on tiring, dangerous, or frustrating jobs in order to meet this responsibility.

Men are more insecure than women often realize, and a woman’s support is invaluable.


If you’re not sure if your character is ringing true, read about men (or women). Specifically, check out marriage advice books – they tend to be written with the goal of helping each partner understand the other better. The sections written for women to understand men are obviously helpful, but also read the parts written for men to understand women better. Those sections can give you a picture of what men often don’t understand about women (which would be useful for your character too!).

Books that I’ve read and thought useful include Love and Respect (Emerson Eggerichs), For Women Only (Shaunti Feldhahn), and His Needs, Her Needs (Willard F. Harley, Jr.). These are Christian books, but the advice is backed up with rigorous studies including both non-Christians and Christians – whether you engage with the Biblical advice or not, the data can give you a picture of where misunderstanding and miscommunication can occur, both in romantic relationships and in general. They also have informative websites if you want to look them up online.

I’m sure there are other books out there that would be helpful, but unfortunately I don’t know which ones to recommend.

A-Cold-Wind-bigBeta Readers

If you’re a woman writing a male character, I suggest at least three or four male beta readers who focus on the character and his voice. For this purpose, your beta readers don’t need to be writers or critiquers; they just need to be readers who are willing to tell you if and where your character doesn’t sound “right.”

For other beta readers, I’d also suggest a woman (or women) who is happily married, preferably for a long time. Successful long-term relationships can help women explain things to other women that men may not catch.

Tips and Tricks

The first time, try writing a character who, aside from gender, feels familiar, perhaps similar to you in personality. Kemen is strong but insecure in specific areas (check!). He’s a military officer (I am a civilian, but I’ve spent most of my career in the Pentagon or intelligence world.). Kemen’s voice felt natural to me because his personality was similar to mine, although his experiences and background were very different.

Last Thoughts

Keep in mind that your character is your character, not just “a man.” He’s an individual, and individuals vary wildly across the spectrum of personalities.

If you want him to be a certain way, you are the author and you are in charge.

Click here to view C.J. Brightley’s Book Blogger Fair – 2013 page.

The Super Awesome A Stiff Kiss 1st Anniversary Contest

ASK 1st Anniversary Contest Blog Badge

Hello, lovely readers! Today, I’m turning my blog over to Avery Olive, who’s got something pretty cool to tell you. Take it away, Avery!

Welcome… Welcome! Please stick around and read today’s post ‘cause it’s a Winner! Hehe. Okay, so I thought about trying something a little different for this next contest.

My goal is to try and get everyone involved more, while spreading the word about A Stiff Kiss. I know many of you might prefer the simple enter your email Rafflecopter, or leave a comment on a post… but I think, if people get involved, this will be a huge hit!

As an A Stiff Kiss Anniversary Participant, your goal is to get as many points as possible so that you can win the massive prize package I’ll be giving away.

But wait, I’m all about a pat on the back for participation, so I will be giving two smaller prize packages away to two random entrants, and… And… for everyone else, you’ll get a little something something too. So, if this works, everyone has the potential to receive some kind of goodie!!

Grand Prize includes:

1 signed and personalized paper copy of A Stiff Kiss (with a special note to the winner)

1 ASK Canvas Tote Bag

1 ASK T-Shirt

1 ASK Coffee Mug and set of coasters

1 ASK Mousepad

Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

2 Participation Prizes include:

1 ASK Coffee Mug filled with Hersey’s Kisses

1 Set of ASK Coasters

1 ASK Mousepad

Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

To see a picture of the prizes being offered, click HERE

Alright, let’s get to the fun stuff. I’ve created a list of activities, given each of them a point value and tried to come up with simple, easy to do and like I said, most importantly, fun things for you to accomplish. You will need to copy and paste this form, and fill it out in order to entered. All forms must be sent to no later than February 28th!

  1. Tweet about A Stiff Kiss. I’ve created a few tweets that you can copy and paste, or create your own.

Tweet 1: Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? #AStiffKiss out now!

Tweet 2: Have you checked out @AveryOlive #AstiffKiss ?Happy one year book anniversary!

Remember to use @averyolive or the hashtag #AStiffKiss so that I can track your tweets! International readers may tweet in their own language, so don’t worry J

1 Point per Tweet and no more than 2 Tweets per day! Enter how many tweets you did here…

Number of Tweets:

2.     Post to your blog or other social media (Website, Tumblr and Facebook)

You’re goal is to share something about A Stiff Kiss. It can be posting a review, doing a simple cover and blurb spotlight, it can be asking me to do an interview (send an email to if you’d like my help) You can re-use an old review, post or interview, however it must be imbedded into a NEW POST. You’re imagination should be put at use here, being extra creative is awesome!) Can be posted in your language of choice.

5 Points per Post. You can post a maximum of 3 times, at least one week apart but each post must be different. One post review, one post cover and blurb, one post something random like sharing with me your personal favourite cemetery…

Please include links to your post!




3.      Spread the love by sharing your A Stiff Kiss Review. Most people forget that there are dozens of places to share reviews. Posting one in a new place can help spread the word. Find a new place (like Goodreads, Barnes & Nobel,, YaCentral) and post your review!

5 Points for each new location you post your review! Please include links to your reviews J

Enter Links Here:

4.     Candid Camera! Take a photo of you (and others if possible) holding a copy of A Stiff Kiss, your e-reader with the cover (or opening page). If you see A Stiff Kiss in your bookstore, library, or own a copy, get as many people as you can into a picture!

Don’t have a copy or ebook of A Stiff Kiss? That’s Okay! If you’ve been lucky enough to receive ASK Swag in the past, take a photo with that or print out this handy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and use that for your picture! 

10 Points for each photo, plus 5 points for each additional person within the photo! Follow me on Instagram—tag me in your photo—post it on Facebook, post it to my wall, share it on twitter with @AveryOlive or #AStiffKiss or send me links.

5.    Poster, poster, read all about! Print out this handy dandy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and post it all around your town. Tape it up anywhere you are allowed to—libraries, school bulletin boards, telephone poles, get creative!

10 Points for each poster you put up (with photo proof, see activity 5 guidelines on how to make sure your photo is seen if you are not sending me links)

6.      Get your Library to get in on the fun! Many library websites have a “request a book form” so, fill it out and request to have them purchase a copy of A Stiff Kiss for their shelves or go directly into the library and fill out a form or talk to your librarian!

10 Points for each request (take a screen shot of your screen when making the request (screen shot how to info HERE)

7.      Stage a spooky photo! Since A Stiff Kiss’ main character is all about cemeteries, I want you to go out and stage a photo next to a tombstone. I know, it’s a little morbid, but Xylia will love it. Use your book, ereader, poster or swag and capture it along with a tombstone, creepy statue—anything you can find at your local cemetery!

15 Points for each spooky photo (with photo proof)

8.      Buy a Copy today! Don’t own A Stiff Kiss? Buy a copy (print or ebook) today for yourself, your friends, to donate to your library or giveaway as a gift. I recommend Take a screen shot of your order confirmation or a picture of your receipt.

25 Points for each book (or ebook) purchased—don’t forget that photo proof.


9.      Write an article! This is a big one, it might be nearly impossible to accomplish, but I have faith in you! Write an article about A Stiff Kiss (or me, Avery Olive) and have it printed in your school or local newspaper. The article can be a review, an interview, whatever you can come up with!

30 Points for each article printed. Send me links or get photo proof!

10.    The Wild Card! This is for you wild ones out there. Show me what you’ve got! This is activity is strictly for you to think outside the box! If you can come up with a fun, creative way to spread the word about A Stiff Kiss, show it to me!

50 Points I’ll need photo proof, links—anything you can throw me!

Just a little extra.

Can I personally use your pictures and post them on the internet?  Yes or No

Can I include your name when announcing prizes or thank you’s? Yes or No


Don’t forget to include your full name and mailing address because in my eyes, everyone is a winner!



Send completed form to 

That’s it, that’s all. I know, some are easier than others, but I think with a little planning and a little motivation, anyone out there can rack up the points!

Remember, for the ones that require proof, I need links provided or to be tagged on Facebook or Instagram, it posted on my wall or use @averyolive or #AStiffKiss so that I can see all your hard work!

For full contest details, rules and regulations, please visit HERE otherwise, get to work and spread the love of A Stiff Kiss!

Avery Olive’s Blog : Facebook : A Stiff Kiss Facebook Fan Page : Twitter : Instagram :  Goodreads : Amazon : Barnes & Noble : The Book Depository :

“Dear Shiloh” – Guest Post by Sherry Soule


Today author, Sherry Soule asked the heroine of her popular YA series, Shiloh Ravenwolf to stop by. She has started her own advice column “Dear Shiloh.”

Since several people have asked Shiloh for help with some “very” interesting topics, she’s generously taken time away from her supernatural studies to answer them. Pasted below are some of the emails sent to her. Enjoy the snark!

Question 1:

Q. Dear Shiloh,

My boyfriend and I have been together for six months and I love him a lot but I think he loves his computer and his X-box games more than me! He never takes me on dates anymore. I love him bunches, but I don’t wanna feel ignored all the time. I don’t know what to do!



A. Dear Ignored-by-BF,

It’s great that he’s into video games, but he should make time for you, too. If he can’t—I advise you to either unplug that X-box, or just move on and find someone who appreciates you like my honey, Trent.

Kind regards,


Question 2:

Q. Dear Shiloh,

I think my house is haunted. Objects move by themselves, I hear whispering and moaning at night, and often the rooms get super cold. Once I saw a ghostly figure in the hallway. It freaked me out. What should I do?


Scared of Ghosts

A. Dear Scared of Ghosts,

Sounds like your house is definitely haunted. My mentor Evans says that often a ghost simply wants to be recognized and sometimes they like to just hang out. Maybe the ghost really wants to play a game, like Monopoly before he/she ventures into the light. Always remember to be a good host, and even, offer your ghostly roommates some kind of entertainment.

Kind regards,


Question 3:

Q. Dear Shiloh,

Lately my boyfriend has been acting kinda weird. Sometimes he gets all aggressive, and then he acts all testosterone-fueled. And he seems to be inhumanly strong. One time he got so mad that he actually snarled like a wolf. Plus, he’s gotten a lot hairier, too. Whaddya think’s going on?

Peace out,

Worried Girl

A. Dear Worried Girl,

Well, his odd behavior might be a paranormal dilemma. He could have a serious lycanthrope disorder. Not sure what to tell you about his bad attitude, but you could buy him a bottle of Nair for his hairy bod. Evans told me that were-creatures cannot enter houses of worship or walk on sacred ground. Try taking him to a graveyard or church and if he freaks out—well, then you’ve got major problems, and it might be best to contact either the Paranormal Research Group or animal control.

Kind regards,


Question 4:

Q. Dear Shiloh,

I think I might have a “Devil’s Mark” like yours. Does that mean I have demon blood inside me? It itches a lot and occasionally the scar even pulsates like a heartbeat. Sometimes when I get upset or mad a ball of flames appears in my hand.



A. Dear Super-Worried,

Okay, it could be one of three things. One, you’re possessed by something evil. Two, you were “marked” by a demon named, Esael. Or three, you’re a half-demon, otherwise-know-as a cambion. If its number three, then you should know that in medieval legend, a Cambion is the offspring of a demon and a human. I sure hope it’s something simple like possession. Best of luck!

Kind regards,


Question 5:

Q. Dear Shiloh,

My BFF got hit by a car and we thought she died. But now she talks with an odd gurgle sound, she shambles around school, and she looks all insipid and blue-veiny. Recently, she’s had a weird craving for brains and she smells like embalming fluid. I think something’s terribly wrong with her!

Help me,

BFF Troubles

A. Dear BFF Troubles,

Yikes! This doesn’t sound good. I fear your BFF has turned into a zombie! But on the plus side, I’ve read online that zombies can often be affectionate, but hugging one often leads to, well, having your brains eaten—so you’ve been warned.

Kind regards,



Hope you enjoyed this comical post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably mine. 🙂

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Website:

Official Blog:

Official Spellbound Series Universe:

Twitter @WriterSherry:


Guest Post: Constance Phillips

Do You Believe in Fairy Dust?

When I was growing up Sunday evenings were reserved for the Wonderful World of Disney. It was family time with classic, wholesome television. Whether it was “Davey Crocket,” “50,000 Leagues Under the Sea” or the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon (You know, before wore red…because everything was in black and white.), it was a long standing tradition in our house.

Watching Tinkerbell fly around Cinderella’s castle with a string of fairy dust trailing from her wand was a moment I anticipated each and every week. For a brief moment in time, it was okay to believe in magic.

Now, the fairies I write about in Fairyproof don’t resemble Tinkerbell in the slightest. In fact, there’s a point in the book that the main character, Monique, jokes about the differences. However, it can’t be denied that the appeal of magic that inspired my more grown-up fairies, was born out of that love of Disney and the permission to wish upon a star.

There isn’t a lot of fairy dust flying around in Fairyproof either, and the magic, so to speak, is more subtle, influencing the mind and emotions. But, like that TV show was to me as a child, I hope for those who read it Fairyproof is an escape from the mundane and transports the reader to a different time and place…One where you can believe in magic.

When Monique finds out her brother, Kieran, is planning her future with the one fairy she wants nothing to do with, she seeks refuge in the human world. Now Kieran fears she will be the next victim in a string of murdered fairies and is determined to bring her home.

Hiding should be a breeze. She can control any human with a flirtatious smile and an attraction spell. Until she meets Daniel Elliot, the only human who’s immune to both.

A year ago, Daniel’s fiancée disappeared with the engagement ring, an Elliot family heirloom. He’s ready to move forward with his life, but his mother’s obsession with retrieving the ring makes that impossible. Then Monique walks into his office to apply for a job.

Daniel and Monique can’t deny their attraction, but will the reason he’s Fairyproof be too much to overcome?

Fairyproof is available NOW at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she’s not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she’s working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.

Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).

A Surprise visit from S.M. Boyce!

UPDATED (April 19): When you buy a pendant, you’re automatically entered in a contest to make a short guest appearance in Heritage, the epic finale to the Grimoire Trilogy. Click here for more details!

Hey gang! I’m thrilled to be sharing some awesome news with you, and I’m so grateful that Wendy let me kidnap her blog for the day to do it. You may remember me from when I was here a last month on my Hidden World blog tour promoting my novel, The Grimoire: Lichgates. To those of you who participated and won some of the hundreds of dollars in prizes, thanks for making that tour so epic!

So today, I’m here with awesome, Grimoire-related news I think you’ll really like. Because we of the modern era like information to be fast and furious, I made this quick video to tell you what all the fuss is about:

Isn’t that cool? I’m bringing the Grimoire pendant from my novel to life!

There’s a lot of buzz around the pendant, and I’ll fill orders in the order they’re received. That means it’s really best to act as soon as you know which pendant you want. For all the ordering info, head over to the pendant’s page on my blog.

Thanks again for having me today! You’re all amazing and I can’t thank you enough for reading Lichgates. You’re making all my geeky little dreams come true.

Learn More:

My Favorite Book

I’m over at Kinley Baker’s blog rambling about Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, aka my favorite book ever. Click here to check it out!

Guest Blogger Alert: Author Sean Poindexter at Wicked Romance

Sean Pointdexter, author of The Shadow of Tiamat, is guest blogging at Wicked Romance today. The post goes live at 8 am. Seriously, check him out!

While you’re at it, you should stop in on his blog, too. Every so often, Thor commandeers the blog to talk about a movie. Here’s the cat’s opinion of Conan the Barbarian.

Guest Post on Lia London’s Blog

I’m on Lia London’s blog today talking about what walking into the Usual Suspects very late taught me about “slow reveals.” It’s called “Liars, Tools, and a Nifty Ball of String.” Please check it out!